This is not my first attendance at the American Society of Hematology. It is not even my first time as the acting nurse liaison for the IMF support group leaders (SGL's). However, this year's experience seems to be so much more than past experiences. Four days in a group of people filled with energy, passion, and a drive to further the science of multiple myeloma. I'm referring to the attending support group leaders. I have not even begun to describe the dedicated physicians and researchers. The SGL's, most of whom have the diagnosis of multiple myeloma, have helped to bring the science of multiple myeloma forward by participating in clinical trials and who represent the graphs and the statistics presented at each session. With their peripheral neuropathy, scheduled medications and aches and pains, they get up each day to sit long hours and walk cement floors to learn, knowing this will worsen their symptoms. They do it to better their experience and to bring this information back to their support groups, to better other's experiences. I marvel at them - not because they HAVE multiple myeloma, but because they LIVE with multiple myeloma.
During this meeting, it was my charge to help interpret the information being presented in a way to further the SGL's knowledge and perspective. In reality, I was the recipient of a greater perspective from them, and am honored to have been a part of this marvelous experience. I thank the SGLs for including me in their learning journey, and I beg the researchers to continue their work in search of better treatments that have fewer side effects and ultimately a cure.